We Filipinos are known to be food lovers, not to mention our talents to turn a simple ingredient and make it into a dish or a snack to match our favorite drinks. Who could have thought that you can turn a noodle into a snack? In Laguna, there’s one famous snack made from fried Chinese egg noodles and its name give justice to its distinct taste. It is called “Shing-A-Ling”. There’s no clear history or even the etymology of its name, who’s the original and who’s the copycat, but we Laguneños are very familiar with this snack. For the Perolina clan in Pagsanjan there’s more to these egg noodles. One man from the Perolina family decided to introduce this snack to the different parts of the region and that resilient man is Mr. Mario Casipit Perolina. The job opportunities were scarce back in his youth. He had jumped from one job to another carrying the weight of being the eldest of five siblings and only finishing second year high school. He had been a jeepney driver, a guard in a power plant in Pagsanjan, and a truck driver carrying crashed rocks in a quarry in Magdalena Laguna. There’s no stopping this man to earn a living and prioritizing the future of his three children. To earn more he decided to have his own Shing-A-Ling business; a decision made on a wing and a prayer.

Mr. Mario’s mother had been making and selling Shing-A-Lings in Pagsanjan as a source of income ever since they were little. After resigning from his job in the quarry, Mr. Mario asked permission from his mother to sell his own version. He used his own savings and sought help from his uncles for capital. And on December 17, 1995, he officially started producing his own. His first kitchen was a small area just outside their house that used to be a pigpen and uses wood fire to flame his caldron

in cooking his Shing-A-Ling. He would get his supply of egg noodles from a Chinese man in Calamba and prepares everything by hand with the help of his wife. Seeing a small opportunity in Pagsanjan, he decided to extend their retail trade area infiltrating the markets of Biñan, Calamba, Lipa, Antipolo and Tanawan. Travelling by public vehicles, he started of carrying around thirty (30) packs commuting from one place to another with ten (10) samples of each kind of his three (3) serving sizes and sells these packs by P1.00, P4.00 and P5.00; a cheap price compared to the value of money today. He did not earn any from his first trial because every pack had turned into a food sample instead. Although disheartened, he never gave up and thought of it as a positive marketing strategy. Soon after, clients are ordering Shing-A-Lings one after another and selling about one hundred packs a day. Nowadays he can produce one thousand to two thousand packs of Shing-A-Lings, have 8 duly registered employees and two factories located in Layug Cavinti and in Pagsanjan, Laguna. He explains that he tasks the women to do the packing and the men the frying because women are much gentler than the men.

After earning enough he sought the help of DTI and soon became a member of ALAFOP (Association of Laguna Food Processors) and had joined trade fairs siting Ms Lory E. Jaraplasan of DTI Laguna as the one who helped him a lot.

“Tinulungan ako ni Ms. Lory at sya ang nagpursigi sa akin na sumali at mag attend ng seminars para sa dagdag kaalaman.”

“Gusto kong magkaroon pa ng iba pang pagkakakitaan para may ipamana pa ako sa aking mga anak.”

Now his Shing-A-Ling business is owned and operated by his eldest son and wife who were also into making banana chips. Mr. Mario is clearly unstoppable, for he would soon venture into another business of making rice crackers. He would do anything to provide a lot for his family, galvanizing his already carved legend to his clan. He exemplified that age and educational attainment are not impediments to achieve your goals. Perhaps we can also say that silver linings can also be found behind strands of egg noodles.♦

By: Josephine A. Ballesteros

Date of Release: 27 November 2019